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Best baby car seats from birth as tested by parents

We've put the UK’s top car seats through their paces to bring you a list of the best baby car seats you can buy for your newborn, as tested and reviewed by real parents.

By Lucy Cotterill | Last updated Nov 30, 2023

five of the best baby car seats

Deciding on the best car seat to buy for your newborn baby is a huge decision to make – and with good reason. With so many different options to choose from and so many car seat laws and regulations to get to grips with, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and confused.

From rearward-facing guidelines and safety ratings to installation, ISOFIX and travel system compatibility, there’s a lot to bear in mind when choosing the best infant car seat.

But fear not. We've worked hard to research and test the best car seats on the market right now.

How we chose the best baby car seats

  • We collated the tried and tested experiences of Mumsnet parents on our forums, home to around 8 million users per month.

  • We scrutinised consumer reviews on retail sites and analysed consumer champion Which?’s trusted lab test results to bring you all the information you need to make the right car seat choice for you and your baby.

  • Where possible, we’ve also included safety scores from the German automobile club and car safety experts ADAC, who perform safety tests at a more stringent level than the European Standards. Their ratings go from ‘Poor’ to ‘Very Good’, and we’ve only included seats that are rated ‘Good’ or above. It’s worth noting that not all car seats have been tested by ADAC yet and therefore a lack of ADAC rating should not be seen as a negative.

  • We tapped into the knowledge of industry experts, including Good Egg Car Safety, Rear-Facing Toddlers and Child Seat Safety, for the latest guidance on car seat safety and European regulations.

  • We conducted our own in-depth car seat testing with parent testers and their children, putting the car seats in this list through their paces over the course of four months. The car seats were scored on the following areas: safety, ease of installation, comfort, day-to-day use, ease of cleaning and value for money.

If you're looking for a car seat for an older child, check out our guides to the best toddler car seats, the best 360 spin car seats and the best car seats for 4-year-olds. We've rounded up the best car sunshades for babies too.

Best baby car seats at a glance


Best overall baby car seat

What we like
  • Quick and simple to install via ISOFIX, reducing any margin for error

  • Light and sound confirmation when ISOFIX is installed correctly

  • Compatible with a wide variety of travel systems

  • Aeroplane-approved

What we don't like
  • ISOFIX base sold separately

  • Integrated sun canopy comes up small

  • Can only be used up to 12 months

Key specs

RRP: £190 (base sold separately) | Type: ‎Group 0+ | Suitable from: Birth to 13kg or 75cm (around 12 months old) | Rear-facing until: 75cm (approximately 12 months)  |  Installation: ISOFIX using FamilyFix3 base or via three-point seatbelt | Weight: 4.5kg | i-Size: Yes | Guarantee: Lifetime

What Mumsnet users say
Bees1 · Recommended
We went for the Maxi-Cosi Pebble Plus for our little one (who is now nearly two) and loved it.
See Post

Our verdict

Tested by parents: Read our full Maxi-Cosi Pebble Plus review

The Maxi-Cosi Pebble Plus takes our top spot for the best overall baby car seat, coming up trumps for safety, comfort and simple installation to make travelling with a baby easier than ever.

This rearward-facing car seat is specially designed for newborns (measuring 40cm or above in height) and will last until your child is 75cm (approximately 12 months old). An upgrade from the now discontinued Maxi Cosi Pebble, it includes a cosy head hugger and body support inlay as well as enhanced side impact protection, providing a safe and comfortable fit for your newborn.

We like the way the safety harness stays open to help get your child into the seat with minimal effort, while the easy-fitting harness can be adjusted via the headrest as your baby grows in height. If you’re looking for even more support or your baby measures closer to the 40cm height minimum, you may also want to consider the newer Maxi-Cosi model (the Pebble Pro) which has a two-part newborn hugger for more tailored support.

The Pebble Plus is really straightforward to install. If you don’t have ISOFIX points in your car, you can fit this seat using the adult seatbelt. Alternatively, you can purchase the Maxi-Cosi FamilyFix3 i-Size base, which uses ISOFIX connectors and has a support leg for additional stability. The base does take up a fair bit of space, so you may prefer to position it behind your passenger seat, especially if you’re on the tall side.

Whilst the base is sold separately and doesn’t come cheap, it reduces the risk of incorrect installation, providing an audible alarm if the support leg comes loose. Our parent tester, Zara, said, “It was simple, quick and painless to install, taking only a matter of minutes. I loved that the ISOFIX lights up and beeps to alert you that the base and the seat are correctly installed. This offered great peace of mind.” The base can also be used with your next stage car seat, the Mumsnetter-rated Maxi-Cosi Pearl Pro i-Size, allowing your child to travel rearward-facing with the same base up to four years old.

When used with the FamilyFix3 base, the Pebble Plus car seat scores highly in Which? lab testing and Good (1.6) in ADAC safety testing, providing very strong protection in a head-on collision and strong protection in the event of a side impact.

We like that the car seat cover is easy to clean - we tested this with juice spills. For convenience, the Pebble Plus is also compatible with several Maxi-Cosi and Quinny travel systems using adapters (sold separately).

Read next: How to choose an infant car seat


Best budget baby car seat

What we like
  • Versatile and lightweight

  • Can be attached to a travel system if you have the right adaptors

  • Newborn inlay adds extra support and security

  • Features a newborn recline position

What we don't like
  • Can only be used up to 12 months

  • ISOFIX base isn't included

Key specs

RRP: £169 (base sold separately) | Type: i-Size | Suitable from: Birth to 75cm (around 12 months old) | Rear-facing until: 75cm (approximately 12 months) | Installation: ISOFIX or seatbelt | Weight: 3.9kg | Guarantee: Lifetime

What Mumsnet users say
jlr1986 · Tried & Tested
I have the Rock and love it! Covers come off to wash in the machine too.
See Post

Our verdict

Tested by parents: Read our full Maxi-Cosi Rock review

The Maxi-Cosi Rock is a versatile first car seat that will provide a snug and safe environment for your newborn baby and is a more lightweight option than the Maxi-Cosi Pebble Plus.

A rear-facing baby car seat suitable for babies from 45 to 75cm tall (approximately birth to 12 months), the Maxi-Cosi Rock is TÜV-approved, so can be used on an aeroplane, and weighs just 3.9kg, making it a portable choice for travel, not to mention easy to carry to and from your car.

The comfortable padded seat includes a baby inlay and head hugger for additional protection and the cover can easily be removed and popped in the washing machine to be freshened up as and when required.

The Maxi-Cosi Rock can be installed quickly and easily using an adult three-point seatbelt, which our parent tester, Sam, felt left little margin for error, or ISOFIX fittings using the FamilyFix3 i-Size base (sold separately), providing additional stability and safety by securing the seat directly to the chassis of your car. This also allows for an easy transition to the compatible next-stage seat - the Maxi Cosi Pearl Pro -Size.

When the ADAC tested the Maxi-Cosi Rock with the FamilyFix3 i-Size base, it scored well for safety, with an impressive side protection system to reduce the risk of injury in the event of a hard side-on collision. Which? lab tests also gave the Rock an overall high score.

Just like the Pebble Plus, the Maxi-Cosi Rock is travel system-compatible with Maxi-Cosi and Quinny pushchairs using adapters (sold separately or with the pushchair). You can even match the colour of the car seat to your pushchair with the Rock available in a choice of colours including black, grey, blue, sand and red.

Read next: The best car seats for toddlers


Best baby car seat from birth to 12 years

What we like
  • Frame reinforced with steel and padded with high-density polyurethane foam

  • Adjustable headrest

  • Four-position recline to a 155-degree lie-flat angle for newborns

  • Extended rear-facing car seat

  • Affordable

What we don't like
  • Tricky to install when using seatbelt fixings

  • Can only use ISOFIX for forward-facing travel

  • Heavy

Key specs

RRP: £130 | Type: Group 0+/1/2/3 | Suitable from: Birth to 12 years | Rear-facing until: 18kg (or four years) and forward-facing from 9 to 36kg (approximately nine months to 12 years) | Installation: Seatbelt for rear-facing and seatbelt or ISOFIX for forward-facing | Weight: 12.5kg | Guarantee: 12 months

Our verdict

Tested by parents: Read our full Cozy N Safe Arthur review

This is an older car seat that’s been tested to the R44 regulations when used with a newborn, but the Cozy N Safe Arthur still ticks a lot of boxes. Big plus: it could be the only car seat you'll ever need to buy!

Designed to grow and adapt with your child, this seat can be used from birth all the way up to 12 years old. Rearward-facing from birth to 18kg (approximately four years) and forward-facing from 9kg to 36kg (approximately nine months to 12 years), it also comes with a protective newborn insert for additional comfort and security.

While it can only be fitted with a seatbelt when it's rear-facing, something that our parent tester, Sam, found fiddly, you do have the option to use ISOFIX points when it's safe for your child to face forwards. The Arthur lets you face your baby forwards from nine months, which is earlier than most car seat safety experts would recommend, so we’d advise you to wait until your child is at least 15 months to do this.

Nevertheless, it's a hard-wearing, well-designed seat with an adjustable headrest and three recline positions, including a 155-degree angle for newborns. With loads of padding and an in-built ventilation system, the Arthur will keep your child safe and comfy no matter their age. It's great for parents that want a seat that will last for the long haul.

This multi-stage car seat offers excellent value for money, but the lack of ISOFIX in rear-facing mode and the fact that it allows parents to switch the seat to forward-facing from nine months may be a deal-breaker for some.

Read next: The best lightweight buggies for babies and toddlers


Best extended rear-facing baby car seat

Britax Römer Dualfix Plus i-Size

What we like
  • Extended rear-facing seat

  • 360-degree rotation

  • 12 recline positions

  • Machine-washable seat cover

  • Can be used from birth right up to four years

What we don't like
  • A huge seat that takes up a lot of space in the car

  • Tricky to install

  • Not travel system-compatible

Key specs

RRP: £325 | Type: i-Size | Suitable from: Birth to 105cm (or age four) – forward-facing from 76 to 105cm | Rear-facing until: 20kg (approx. four years) | Installation: ISOFIX | Weight: 15kg | Guarantee: Two years

What Mumsnet users say
Starjammer · Tried & Tested
Love our Britax! Really good quality and washes well.
See Post
Nervousseacreature · Recommended
We have the Britax one. I think we went for that due to the safety rating. I love the rotating seat (wish I’d found it earlier) and our son made it to four in it, rear-facing.
See Post

Our verdict

Tested by parents: Read our full Britax Römer Dualfix i-Size review (older model)

The Britax Römer Dualfix Plus i-Size is an i-Size/R129-approved extended rear-facing car seat that's designed to keep your child in a rear-facing position till they reach 105cm in height (approximately four years of age) or 20kg, whichever comes first.

While many of the other Britax Römer car seats, such as the Britax Römer Dualfix M Pro are only suitable for babies from around three months, this upgrade from the original Dualfix i-Size includes a newborn insert, with additional support to make it suitable from birth.

There’s no denying that it's a huge car seat that'll take up significant space in your car, but it's ideal for parents that have a larger vehicle and want to keep their child rear-facing for as long as possible.

Unlike both the Maxi-Cosi Pebble Plus and Maxi-Cosi Rock which only rearward-face until around 12 months, the Britax Römer Dualfix Plus i-Size can keep your child rearward-facing till approximately four years of age, providing the best protection in the event of a front-on collision. Thanks to its large side wings, it also creates a protective cocoon around your baby in the event of a side impact, scoring a 2.1 (good) rating from ADAC.

Unlike the portable Maxi-Cosi Rock, this isn’t a seat you’ll want to swap between different cars regularly due to its weight. That said, the Britax Römer Dualfix Plus i-Size is quick and easy to install thanks to the integrated ISOFIX base with a support leg. The swivel seat also rotates a full 360 degrees, allowing you to turn the seat to the open door for easy placement of your baby without straining your back.

With a secure five-point harness that can be easily adjusted with one hand and no less than 12 recline positions, you can be certain to find a comfortable travel position for your child, whether they’re sleeping or watching the world go by.

Read next: The best car sunshades for babies


Best 360 baby car seat

What we like
  • The swivel seat makes it easy to get your baby in and out

  • Extended rear-facing

  • Easy to install with reassuring installation indicators

  • Six recline positions, including a lie-flat recline

  • Chunky padding

What we don't like
  • The floor leg fixture is a bit fiddly

  • The design and weight makes it difficult to carry the seat to and from the car

Key specs

RRP: £280 | Type: i-Size | Suitable from: Birth to 105cm or 18kg (four years old), whichever comes sooner | Rear-facing until: Minimum of 15 months or to 105cm for extended rear-facing | Installation: ISOFIX | Weight: 13.9kg | Guarantee: Two years

What Mumsnet users say
teaandlotusbiscoff · Recommended
The Joie i-Spin is actually one of my favourite car seats.
See Post
DragonbornMum · Tried & Tested
Joie i-Spin 360 - a big recommendation from me! My son looks so comfy sitting in it. I started using it from eight months old and the first car seat was cheap rubbish. The Joie is MUCH better quality.
See Post

Our verdict

Tested by parents: Read the full Joie i-Spin 360 review

Just like the Britax Römer Dualfix Plus i-Size, the Joie i-Spin 360 i-Size is a rotating R129-compliant car seat that can be used from birth until your child reaches 105cm or 18kg (approximately four years old). For safety and i-Size compliance, the Joie i-Spin should be used rearward-facing for a minimum of 15 months. After this point, you can switch to forward-facing if you wish, however we recommend that your child remains rearward-facing as long as possible for maximum protection.

An improvement on the original Joie Spin 360, the i-Spin model has a lock that, when engaged, prevents you from turning the seat to face forwards too soon. It also performs significantly better than its predecessor for safety too, with Guard Surround Safety™ panels for side impact protection and a cushioned Tri-Protect™ headrest. This new version received a high test score in Which?’s crash testing, excelling when it came to comfort, installation and fitting, as well as a Good (1.8) score from ADAC.

With an integrated base and weighing 13.9kg in total, it's a far cry from the lightweight Maxi-Cosi Pebble Plus, but because it offers extended rear-facing for up to four years, it can be used for a far longer duration. Thanks to the 360-degree rotation, it’s also straightforward to add and remove even the wriggliest of babies.

Due to the size and robust design, initial installation may involve a little clambering over your seats, but overall the ISOFIX fittings make it very easy to install, with installation indicators on the base that means there’s a very low risk of fitting the seat incorrectly.

While some reviewers have found the 19 adjustable leg positions on the supporting leg a little fiddly, it helps to tailor the seat to your vehicle and offers additional stability and protection upon impact.

MNHQ editor and parent, Laura, who uses this car seat daily with her 14-month-old, says, “Installation was a breeze. The indicators turn green to let you know when the car seat has been correctly installed, which is so reassuring. Yes, the seat is big, but it’s really comfy - so much so that my daughter falls asleep in it on almost every long car journey.”

As your child grows, you can automatically adjust the harness by raising the cushioned, three-layer headrest, with no need to rethread the straps. Surround panels extend when the child is placed in the seat, providing strong protection for your baby's head in the event of a collision.

With ventilated fabrics and a choice of six recline positions (regardless of your travel direction), you can be confident your baby will be cosy and comfortable during road trips both short and long.

Read next: The best 360 spin car seats


Best baby car seat for safety

What we like
  • Safest infant carrier ever tested (ADAC 2020)

  • Described as ‘one of the best’ by Which?

  • Easy to install

  • Travel system-compatible with Silver Cross pushchairs

  • Premium fabrics

What we don't like
  • The seat cover can be difficult to remove for washing

  • Heavy when compared to other newborn baby car seats with a similar weight/height limit

Key specs

RRP: £225 (base sold separately) | Type: i-Size | Suitable from: Birth to 85cm (approximately 15 months) | Rear-facing until: 15 months | Installation: ISOFIX with the Dream i-Size base | Weight: 5.45kg (7.2kg with the base) | Guarantee: Three years

What Mumsnet users say
Lexi334 · Tried & Tested
Our [travel system] came with the Dream i-Size infant car seat which we were happy with and my son was really comfy in - although it’s very heavy compared to some infant car seats.
See Post

Our verdict

Silver Cross is a much-loved British brand, well known for its stylish and luxurious baby products. The Dream i-Size is no exception and is suitable for babies from birth to 85cm (approximately 15 months).

It costs significantly more than the Maxi-Cosi Pebble Plus and Maxi-Cosi Rock despite no significant difference in size limits, but with good reason - it’s described as ‘one of the best’ car seats for safety by consumer champion Which?. The Dream i-Size has also received ADAC’s highest rating to date for an infant car seat when used with the Silver Cross Dream i-Size base.

The Silver Cross Dream i-Size can be installed in your car using the three-point adult seatbelt but, for the highest level of protection, you’ll need to purchase the Silver Cross Dream i-Size base. Retailing at around £169, the base is a significant investment for a car seat that’ll need changing after approximately 15 months as the next stage seat, the Silver Cross Motion All Size 360 comes with its own integrated base.

Despite the overall premium price tag, it’s an investment well made if safety is your number one priority. With an overall five-star safety rating from Which?’s crash test lab and an impressive score of 1.5 (Very good) from ADAC, this rearward-facing seat is packed full of enhanced safety features to keep your baby safe, including four layers of side impact protection. Thanks to the visual indicators on the base, there’s also a very low risk of installing this seat incorrectly, with an installation app that guides you through the steps for ultimate peace of mind.

Made with super soft and breathable bamboo fabrics, the newborn insert and cushioned sides can be removed as your baby grows, ensuring your baby will be safe and snug even if they nod off during your commute. Compatible with Silver Cross travel systems (including parent favourite, the Pioneer), you can easily move your baby from the car without waking them when you reach your destination.


Best lie-flat baby car seat

What we like
  • Allows for a comfortable lie-flat position for your baby

  • Travel system-compatible

  • The base is compatible with other Maxi-Cosi car seats including the Pebble Plus and Pearl Pro i-Size

What we don't like
  • The seat itself has a short life span (around six months)

  • Costly

  • Heavy set that takes up significant space in your car as it needs to be installed sideways on the back seats

Key specs

RRP: £169 (base sold separately) | Type: i-Size | Suitable from: Birth to approximately six months | Rear-facing until: Six months | Installation: ISOFIX (with base sold separately)  | Weight: 5.9kg | Guarantee: Two years

What Mumsnet users say
welshladywhois40 · Tried & Tested
We used a Maxi-Cosi Jade flat car seat and it doubled up as a Moses basket for daytime sleep and overnight trips. We live in London with the family three hours away so it was invaluable. What I loved was taking him out of the car asleep and not disturbing him.
See Post

Our verdict

If you are regularly going to travel on long-distance car journeys with your newborn, a seat that provides the optimum lie-flat sleeping position is definitely worth considering.

Unlike traditional car seats such as the Maxi-Cosi Pebble Plus and Maxi-Cosi Rock which have a two-hour recommended use limit (see our two-hour car seat guidance below), the Maxi-Cosi Jade has a unique 180-degree flat sleeping position which allows safer sleeping during travel - without any set limits on the duration of use. With a super soft mattress with a protective newborn inlay, your child can sleep comfortably for longer in a more natural, ergonomic sleeping position.

Installed easily with ISOFIX using the FamilyFix3 or 3wayfix bases (all sold separately), the Jade lie-flat seat has a relatively short life span - suitable from birth to approximately six months (40 to 70cm), after which you’ll need to buy a suitable rear-facing baby car seat. However, the FamilyFix3 base can also be used with the next-stage car seats such as the Maxi-Cosi Pebble Plus and Maxi-Cosi Pearl Pro i-Size when it’s time to upgrade.

As well as complying with the latest R129 i-Size safety standards, the Jade has shock-absorbing materials and a secure three-point safety harness as well as decent padding to keep your baby comfortable and well supported at all times. Which? crash testing gave the Jade an exceptionally high lab score when used with the 3wayfix base, with ADAC also providing an impressive Very good (1.5) rating.

When your journey is complete, you can simply slide the car seat off the base and pop it onto a compatible travel system, stashing the harness away so that you can use it as a traditional carrycot.

Read next: The best lie-flat car seats for newborns


Best premium baby car seat

Stokke iZi Go Modular X1 by BeSafe

What we like
  • Can be installed on to Stokke travel systems without adapters

  • Base can be used with the next stage seat, the BeSafe iZi Modular X1 i-Size, for longevity

  • Lightweight

  • Machine-washable covers

What we don't like
  • Costly for a first-stage baby car seat

  • Side impact cushions need to be attached separately

  • A five-point harness can be a bit fiddly

Key specs

RRP: £229 | Type: i-Size | Suitable from: Birth to approximately 12 months (40 to 75cm in height) | Rear-facing until: Approximately 12 months | Installation: ISOFIX | Weight: 4.2kg | Guarantee: Two years

What Mumsnet users say
trilbydoll · Tried & Tested
My daughter has just grown out of her BeSafe iZi which is my absolute favourite seat.
See Post

Our verdict

Tested by parents: Read our full BeSafe iZi Go Modular i-Size review (older model)

The Stokke BeSafe iZi Go Modular X1 is tested to the R129 (i-Size) regulations and is suitable for use with babies from 40cm (birth) to 75cm (up to and including 13kg).

An updated version of the BeSafe iZi Go Modular i-Size (tested by our parent tester - see above), this seat boasts an updated headrest design and BeSafe Newborn Hugger to provide additional side support and a flatter sitting angle for safer travel. It also has additional side force absorbers in the side wings, offering enhanced protection in the event of a side-on collision.

Installation is quick and easy. You can clip the seat on to the i-Size approved iZi Modular i-Size base or strap it in using your car’s adult seatbelt for those without access to ISOFIX points. There is a very low risk of installing this car seat incorrectly thanks to the easy-to-follow instructions and indicators on the base that turn green when the seat is installed correctly.

It’s a lightweight seat that, whilst large on the base, doesn’t take up as much room in the car as other extended rear-facing models such as the Joie i-Spin 360 i-Size or Britax Römer Dualfix Plus i-Size. Whilst the BeSafe iZi Go has a shorter life span than the i-Spin 360 and the Dualfix Plus, the base is compatible with the next model toddler car seat, the BeSafe iZi Modular X1 i-Size, which can be used rear-facing up to approximately four years.

We love the integrated sun canopy and magnets that hold the straps out of the way making it quick and easy to get your child in the seat and be on your way. This Stokke collaboration also means it can be added to Stokke travel systems without the need for separate adapters.

In terms of safety, the Stokke BeSafe iZi Go Modular X1 offers excellent crash protection when used with the base, with a five-star rating in Which? lab tests for safety and an overall 2.0 (Good) score from ADAC. It’s important to remember to clip on the side impact protection each time, however, as this offers additional security in the event of a side-on collision.


Best modular baby car seat

What we like
  • Lightweight removable liner to remove your baby from the car without waking them

  • Swivel seat

  • Travel system-compatible

  • Ideal for parents with back problems or for use after a caesarean

  • Base is compatible with next stage swivel car seat the Maxi-Cosi Pearl 360 i-Size

What we don't like
  • Costly for a first stage car seat, especially as the base is sold separately

Key specs

RRP: £260 (base sold separately) | Type: i-Size | Suitable from: Birth to 75cm (approximately 12 months) | Rear-facing until: 75cm (approximately 12 months) | Installation: ISOFIX or seatbelt | Weight: 5.3kg complete or inner carrier 1.7kg | Guarantee: Two years

What Mumsnet users say
Bells3032 · Tried & Tested
I have the Maxi-Cosi Coral and love it. The inner part of the car seat comes in and out easily so you can carry them around without having to take the big heavy car seat out. Very useful when she falls asleep in the car seat and want to take her inside without breaking my back or waking her.
See Post

Our verdict

Described as a modular car seat due to its unique two-part design, the Coral 360 is an innovative R129-standard rotating car seat suitable from birth to 75cm or 12kg (approximately 12 months).

If you’ve had a caesarean birth or regularly experience back pain, lugging your newborn and the weight of a car seat can be physically challenging. Whilst permanently secured car seats such as the Joie i-Spin 360 i-Size and Britax Römer Dualfix Plus i-Size can help, they’re not travel system-compatible, meaning you have to wake your sleeping child when you reach your destination. The Maxi-Cosi Coral 360 is a great alternative.

Uniquely different from the Maxi-Cosi Pebble Plus and Maxi-Cosi Rock, the Maxi-Cosi Coral offers a choice of carrying options. You can detach the entire seat and attach it to a compatible travel system or simply lift out the lightweight (1.7kg) soft fabric liner using the retractable handles. The latter provides a far lighter load for carrying your baby safely back into the house while leaving the heavier hard shell of the seat installed in your car.

The Maxi-Cosi Coral 360 can be installed with the three-point adult seatbelt or via ISOFIX connectors using the FamilyFix 360 base (sold separately). An upgrade from the original Maxi-Cosi Coral, this version is a swivel seat, allowing the seat to quickly and easily be rotated to and from the door side using one hand when attached to the FamilyFix 360 base.

The base offers additional stability but is also compatible with the next stage 360 spin car seat, the Maxi-Cosi Pearl 360 i-Size, which can be used as an extended rearward-facing seat until your child is four. Installing this seat with the 360 base also reduces the risk of fitting the seat incorrectly, with audio-visual indicators that confirm correct use.

While the 360 version of the Maxi-Cosi Coral is yet to receive ADAC testing, the original Coral design (without the swivel feature) scored a Good score overall (1.9) with a very low risk of injury in a front or side accident.

The baby-hugg inlay will ensure your baby is cosy and comfortable during your travels,  while the large sun canopy keeps them protected from the sun’s harmful rays.

The Coral is also compatible with a large range of pushchairs including the Egg2, BabyStyle Oyster3, and iCandy and Bugaboo prams using adapters (sold separately). Due to its compact size, it’s also approved for use on an aeroplane.


Best swivel baby car seat

What we like
  • Swivel seat design

  • Semi-rotated position in car and life-flat rotation outside vehicle

  • Adjustable headrest grows with your child

What we don't like
  • Costly

  • Base sold separately

  • Side impact protection needs manually activating

Key specs

RRP: £230 | Type: i-Size | Suitable from: Birth to 18 months (45 to 87cm) | Rear-facing until: Minimum of 15 months | Installation: ISOFIX | Weight: 4.8kg | Guarantee: Two years

What Mumsnet users say
babymuffinxo · Recommended
We have the Cloud Z with the Mamas & Papas Ocarro and love it.
See Post

Our verdict

The Cybex Cloud Z2 i-Size is an R129-compliant car seat that's suitable from birth to 18 months (45 to 87cm). It’s a travel system-compatible car seat that has improved longevity when compared to other popular infant car seats such as the Maxi-Cosi Pebble Plus or Silver Cross Dream i-Size.

An upgrade on the original Cybex Cloud Z, the Cybex Cloud Z2 now semi-reclines for maximum comfort during your travels - handy if your child tends to fall asleep to the motion of the car. When fitted onto a travel system, it can be used in a completely lie-flat position, allowing for a more comfortable sleeping position for your baby and functioning as a great alternative to a carrycot.

The Cybex Cloud Z2 can be installed via your car’s three-point adult seatbelt or using ISOFIX on the Cybex Z2 base which offers additional stability and increased protection in the event of an accident. The Z2 base can also rotate the seat to the car door for speed and convenience, allowing you to place your baby in and out of the car seat with minimal effort. Whilst an investment, the Z2 Base is also compatible with the next stage Cybex Sirona Z2 i-Size car seat, allowing your child to remain rearward facing until approximately four years of age.

For newborns, the Cybex Cloud Z2 comes with a cosy and comfortable padded newborn inlay, which creates a near-flat lying position and added support for smaller or premature babies. There are also 12 headrest positions which can be raised with one hand to adapt the seat as your child grows with the integrated harness adjusting automatically.

Compatible with a wide range of pushchairs including Cybex and gB, this seat performs well across safety tests, with a five-star rating for safety in Which? crash test results and a Good (1.7) score from ADAC. With excellent manual side impact protection, it has a very low risk of injury in both front and side collisions, however you must remember to manually flick out the side impact protection before your journey begins.

Why do I need a baby car seat?

Using a baby car seat when you travel in a vehicle with your child is the law. Your child must be in a car seat until they are 12 years old (or 135cm tall), whichever comes first.

What size car seat is suitable for newborns?

UK legislation states that a child needs to be in a car seat until they are 12 years old or 135cm tall (whichever comes first). Car seats are based on either weight or height, depending on which regulation they follow.

Seats under the R44 regulation are weight-based and seats under R129 are height-based. Both types of car seats are available to buy and legal to use in your vehicles in 2023, but R44 seats will likely be phased out over the coming years.

R44 car seats come in stages:

  • Group 0+: birth to 13kg (around 12 to 15 months)

  • Group 0+/1: birth to 18kg (around 4 years old)

  • Group 0+/1/2/3 (multi-stage): birth to 36kg (around 12 years old)

R44 car seats can be fitted in one of two ways: via your car’s ISOFIX points (which secures the seat directly onto the vehicle chassis) or alternatively with your car’s adult seatbelt which is handy if you have an older vehicle which doesn’t have ISOFIX anchor points as standard.

Group 0+ car seats are usually travel system-compatible and often come with a newborn insert for small babies. Group 0+/1 seats are designed to adapt to your growing child and are generally bigger and heavier than Group 0+ seats, which means they are typically designed to stay in one car. Group 0+/1/2/3 seats are combination car seats that grow with your child all the way up to 12 years old.

It’s worth noting that whilst R44 seats are perfectly legal, they generally don’t have the same side impact testing as seats that conform with the more recent R129/i-Size standard.

Claire Waterhouse of Child Seat Safety says, “While under ECE R44/04 there is no requirement to do a side-impact test, some manufacturers do make seats that have this safety feature. You should look for it regardless, as well as the seat’s overall crash test rating.”

What is i-Size?

The R129 standard (also referred to as i-Size) was introduced in 2013 and includes more detailed safety tests for head/neck protection and side-impact crashes. In an R129 i-Size car seat, suitability is based on your child’s height rather than their weight, making it easier to see when your child is outgrowing their seat.

R129 seats use ISOFIX to safely secure your seat to the main chassis of your car. This reduces the risk of installing the seat incorrectly but does require the addition of an ISOFIX base which can increase the cost.

Read next: Tips for keeping you and your family safe on the road

What's the difference between R44 and R129 car seats?

R44 regulation car seats

  • Classification based on weight

  • Rear and front impact testing

  • Can be fitted using seat belt or ISOFIX points

  • Seat must be rear-facing until your child weighs 9kg

R129 regulation car seats (i-Size)

  • Classification is based on height

  • Rear, front and side-impact testing

  • Seat is attached with ISOFIX points

  • Seat must be rear facing until your child is older than 15 months

What should I look for when buying a baby car seat?

Choosing the right car seat for your baby can be slightly overwhelming, but here are the main things you need to consider when making your choice:

  • R44 or R129 compliant?: Be sure to look at which standard the car seat has been measured to. Whilst R44 car seats are still perfectly legal, you may prefer the enhanced side impact testing on newer R129 (i-Size) car seats.

  • Ease of installation: How easy is the car seat to install in your vehicle? Does it offer a choice of seatbelt or ISOFIX fitting and, if ISOFIX only, is this compatible with your car? It’s also worth considering how heavy and bulky the car seat is, particularly if you are going to be installing the car seat on your own.

  • Weight: If you are likely to be carrying your car seat to and from the car or swapping between vehicles regularly, you should consider how heavy the seat is to carry. Car seats such as the Maxi-Cosi Coral (see above) are ideal for parents with back complaints as the lighter inner liner can be removed without you need to take the entire seat out of the car.

  • Safety features: What safety features does the car seat offer? How does it perform in Which? and ADAC crash testing? Whilst older seats tend to focus on front-on collisions, seats tested to the R129 standard offer enhanced side impact protection, although in some cases these need to be manually triggered.

  • Plane compatibility: Not all car seats can be taken on a flight, so if you’re planning to travel regularly with a baby under 12 months, you’ll need to look out for seats that are TÜV-approved for aeroplane use.

  • Is it travel system compatible?: Do you do a lot of walking and hope to attach the car seat to your pushchair? Not all car seats are travel system-compatible, and those that are typically to have a shorter lifespan of around 12 to 15 months. If you tend to travel more in the car, you may get better value for money from a fixed extended rear-facing car seat, lasting until your child is around four years of age.

  • Is the base included?: Whilst some car seats include an integrated base, others need bases that are sold separately. Some car seats can be fitted with the seatbelt alone, but they are only truly i-Size-compliant if installed on the base via ISOFIX adapters. You should also consider whether the base is compatible with the next-stage car seat you intend to use as this improves the overall value for money and longevity of use.

  • How long does it last?: How long do you want to use the seat for? Whilst lie-fat seats such as the Maxi-Cosi Jade only last around six months, others such as the Cozy N Safe Arthur (see both above) can see you through till your child is 12 years old.

  • Does the seat swivel?: If opting for a fixed car seat that stays in the car, you may want to look out for a swivel seat, which allows the seat to be turned to the door side so that you can easily place your child in the seat. This prevents stretching over the seat and is helpful for parents with back problems or those recovering from a c-section. They also offer a relatively seamless transition between rear- and forward-facing when the time is right.

What is ISOFIX?

ISOFIX is a structural system built into the car that has fitting points to attach an ISOFIX car seat. The seat is latched onto the ISOFIX points and then braced by using either a support leg or a top tether.

You can only use an ISOFIX seat in a car with ISOFIX fittings and not all vehicles have them, especially older models. It is important to check the child car seat manufacturer’s compatibility list as there are some vehicle features that can make the child car seat incompatible.

You’ll be able to find out if your car has ISOFIX attachments by looking for tags or labels on the base of the seat or by contacting your manufacturer.

Is ISOFIX safer than a seatbelt?

Where possible, installing a seat with ISOFIX is far safer than installing with a seatbelt alone. Seatbelt installation comes with a far higher risk of installing correctly, for example, twisting the belt or not pulling it tight enough to secure the seat.

ISOFIX connections also offer more stability and reduce the amount of movement in the seat, providing better protection for your child in an accident, particularly a side-on impact.

Read next: The best baby carriers to buy, as rated by Mumsnetters

What is an extended rear-facing car seat?

An extended rear-facing car seat is a car seat that can remain reward-facing for longer than the minimum 15-month duration.

By law, babies need to remain rear-facing until they are 15 months old, after which they can be turned forward-facing. Whilst many parents turn their babies forward-facing as they grow (usually so they can see out the window), according to car seat safety expert and Chief Executive of Good Egg Car Safety, Jan James, it is far safer to keep your baby rearward-facing as long as possible. Some experts believe it to be as much as five times safer.

Some car seats such as the Joie i-Spin 360 i-Size and Britax Römer Dualfix Plus i-Size are classed as extended rear-facing car seats. They are suitable from birth to four years and offer rearward-facing travel for the entire duration of use.

What is a 360-degree or swivel car seat?

A 360-degree or swivel car seat can be turned to the door side for easy placement of your child in the seat, which can be helpful for parents who have challenges with back pain or for whom reaching across the backseats could be difficult.

A swivelling seat also helps make a seamless transition from rearward- to forward facing when the time is right.

Some swivel seats can rotate a full 360 degrees, while others simply rotate 180 degrees to move between front and rear-facing installation without needing to remove or reinstall the base.

How long can a baby stay in a car seat?

A study by the Lullaby Trust in October 2016 found that babies should only be kept in a car seat during travel for a maximum of two hours and be removed at the earliest opportunity. For babies under three months, experts recommend they are only kept in a car seat for 30 minutes at a time.

What is the two-hour rule?

The two-hour rule recommended by manufacturers suggests that babies should not be kept in a car seat for longer than two hours at a time. This is because the raised and scrunched-up position in a car seat can put a strain on the baby’s still-developing spine and restrict airflow to the baby’s lungs.

It is recommended that, on longer journeys, you take regular breaks and remove your child from the seat, allowing them to stretch their legs and realign their spine. As tempting as it may be, you should not allow your child to sleep in the car seat when you reach your destination and should be removed to sleep on a firm, flat surface.

How much does a baby car seat cost?

Prices range from £30 to over £400, but it's not always the case that the most expensive car seat is the best.

All car seats have to pass the minimum safety criteria laid out by the R44 regulation to be legally sold, but many of the bigger brands do their own independent tests at higher speeds. Some have even passed the Swedish Plus Test, which is the world's strictest car seat test.

Overall, consider your budget and always check independent reviews before making any decision.

Read next: The best double buggies, as rated by parents

Can you use a secondhand car seat?

A car seat's main job is to protect your baby and, for that purpose, it tends to be a single-use item. You can use a car seat until you have an accident, at which point it must be thrown away and replaced.

While secondhand seats aren't necessarily unsafe, if you buy a seat from someone you don't know you have no real way of knowing the seat's history. This may not be the case if it's been passed down from a relative or a friend, but even if the seat looks fine, it could still have suffered invisible damage that has made it weak or unsafe.

Margaret Bolt, a qualified Child Seat Safety Adviser and founder of Rear-Facing Toddlers says, "It isn’t a case that the seat will suddenly become less robust or less likely to withstand an accident, but, as a seat gets older, it becomes more difficult to know its history. It may have been passed from owner to owner, its crash history might not be known, instructions may be missing or spare parts unavailable.”

As such, car seat safety experts generally recommend never buying a secondhand car seat.

Can you take a car seat on a plane?

If a child is under 18kg, then using a car seat on board a plane is the safest way to travel but the seat must be certified for use by either the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) or the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) or be TÜV-approved. Check with your airline for their guidelines first. Airlines will also have car seat width restrictions in place and these can vary by carrier. Bear in mind that you'll need to book a separate seat for your child to travel in this way, as opposed to on your lap.

When it comes to travelling abroad, make sure you understand the law in the country you are travelling to. EU seats can be used throughout Europe, and also in the Middle East, some parts of Africa, Asia and New Zealand. They're technically illegal to use in the USA, Canada and Australia, although they may be permitted for a holiday.

A car seat can often also be taken in the hold free of charge, but make sure it's well padded and covered to avoid being damaged.

If you're not travelling with a car seat but want to use one on arrival, you may want to consider ordering a new seat from a local retailer at your destination and see if it can be delivered to where you're staying or to the car rental place.

We don’t recommend hiring seats as they're often old, may not be suitable for your child and you won't know the history of them.

Read next: The best family holiday destinations, according to Mumsnet users

6 minute car seat safety video

Here, car seat safety expert Jan James from Good Egg Car Safety answers some of the most frequently asked car seat questions:

  • What is ISOFIX, and is it safer than a seat belt? (00:00:17)

  • How long can a newborn stay in a car seat? (00:00:50)

  • When can babies legally go in forward-facing car seats? (00:01:43)

  • How tight should the straps be? (00:02:37)

  • Why buy a £300 car seat when you can get one for £30? (00:03:08)

  • Can an infant car seat be in the front seat of a vehicle? (00:04:34)

  • Can I use a secondhand car seat? (00:05:01)

How we tested the best baby car seats

  • Four months of daily testing

  • 30 hours researched

The car seats were all scored on the same criteria: safety, stability and comfort, assembly, day-to-day use, aesthetics, cleanliness and value for money.

Safety and stability

We looked at factors including:

  • Crash test results

  • How easy each seat was to attach and detach

  • How useful and effective the designated fixing systems (seatbelt or ISOFIX) were to help parents avoid making any dangerous mistakes – was there was any room for error?

  • Straps and harnesses, particularly when it came to clicking them into place and adjusting

  • Padding and other safety features

  • Switching from rear- to forward-facing, where applicable

  • Materials – were they durable and robust?

  • How comfortable the baby was in the seat – were there any parts that could rub the skin or cause irritation? Were all fittings, including the harness, baby-proof?

  • How distracting the seat was for the parent when driving – did the seat obscure their view? Were the colours too bright?


We checked that:

  • Each seat came with all the parts necessary to install

  • The instructions were clear and easy to follow – if ambiguous, we made note

  • There were helplines or online videos for extra guidance

Day-to-day use and comfort

We tested:

  • How quick and easy it was to get the baby in out and of the seat (and timed the whole process)

  • Whether or not they were able to fall asleep comfortably and if the seat could be removed with a sleeping baby still inside

  • For longevity – could the seat grow with the child?

  • Each seat on busy school runs, shopping trips, long car journeys and quick trips throughout the day, looking at both comfort and convenience

Aesthetics and cleaning

We looked at:

  • Whether the seat was easy to clean – we spilt milk and juice on each seat to see how it fared after cleaning and checked for removable covers that could be thrown in the washing machine at a moment's notice

  • The overall design of the seat, including colours, materials and thoughtful touches

Value for money

We assessed:

  • Price and evaluated whether each car seat offered good value for money – could it be used up until the age of four, or even 12, and was it affordable for the majority of parents?

About the author

Lucy Cotterill is a mum of two and Content Writer at Mumsnet, specialising in baby/child product reviews and round-ups. Having written product reviews on her own blog Real Mum Reviews since 2012, Lucy loves to research and explore the pros and cons of baby products, scrutinising reviews and consumer feedback to help parents make confident purchases that benefit their families.

Lucy has personal experience of researching, buying and using car seats with her own children, including the first car seats compatible with her travel system to 360-degree swivel seats and the multi-stage car seats that her children still use today.

Originally from a HR background with a degree in Business Studies, Lucy developed a real passion for blogging and writing when her children were young, going on to write for several online publications including US parenting site Pregistry and the Evening Standard.

When she’s not manically tapping the keys of her laptop, Lucy loves nothing more than to cosy up with her Kindle and enjoy the latest thriller, or compete in Nintendo Switch rallies with her daughters aged six and 10.